Bookmarks: Best 2019 fiction – foreign, English and US
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Much excitement in the literary firmament: Elena Ferrante’s long-awaited new novel, The Lying Life of Adults (Europa), is out, and once again we’re plunged into the world of working class girls from the backstreets of Naples in a saga.
The bad news, however, is that it’s only available in Italian – La vita bugiarda degli adulti – and we must wait until June 2020 for the publication of Ann Goldstein’s English translation. The fact that it’s still more than six months away has, however, not stopped The Times of London from giving the book a glowing review.
Writing in the paper, critic Tom Kington reveals the novel’s opening line, “Two years before moving out, my father told my mother I was really ugly”, and says Ferrante built the story of her new narrator, 12-year-old Giovanna, around that insult. It is an opening, he adds, that is greatly indebted to Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, who tells her own daughter how ugly she is...